Spiritual Bench Press

IMG_0761I walked into the gym with my eyes focused on the bench press. I carefully lifted the 50 pound weights on each side of the bar and made sure they were secure. After loading 500 pounds of weights, I positioned myself on the bench, grabbed the bar and easily pressed the weight three times! I sat up, took a deep breath and strolled out of the gym, knowing I had just done the impossible! Then, I woke up.

During my talk with God yesterday, I was able to see something very important. As I spent more time focusing on what I was not able to do, I spent less time on what I could do.

I had gotten out of my daily spiritual training. In addition to fewer conversations with God, I was also spending less time in His Word.

Anyone who can bench press 500 pounds is going to maintain a daily routine which gradually builds their strength and confidence.

The same is true on our walk of faith. God wants us to attain amazing goals! We simply need to be sure that our daily spiritual training continues in order to have the strength and perspective we need.

“And whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

- Colossians 3:17

 

Ouch

DSCF3100For the past hour, I have written and deleted this post. Different titles, different direction all deflection. Finally, God had enough and allowed me to hear: “get real.”

God and I talked today. One of those talks where I did most of the listening. One of those talks where I needed to hear what God had to say.

Basically, we were talking about my struggles and my failures. As I have shared before, there are times when my self-doubt dance goes from a single play to an entire album. Different songs, different melodies with the same sad result.

God pretty much summed it up: “How does your dance of self-doubt glorify me?”

Ouch.

My prayer tonight is one of thanks. So thankful for God Who loves me enough to sometimes sum it up. So thankful for a God Who loves you too!

Organic Faith

IMG_0628After leaving the grocery store yesterday, I thought about the time spent in the organic fruit and vegetable section. I found some vegetables that looked exactly the same as the non-organic variety. As I read the labels, I found that some were even from the same company.

Same company, identical looking but one amazing difference. The price!

My first reaction was to be skeptical since I really had no way to verify what I was seeing.

It came down to a matter of trust.

On our walk of faith, we will have the opportunity to talk with many people. What qualities will we demonstrate to show our organic, ie: pure faith. We look similar to other people they have met and I imagine we might share many of the scriptures they have already heard.

It will be a matter of trust. Are people going to see us as sincere or “packaged”?

My prayer for today is to remember the importance of sharing our personal faith journey. When we share our personal story, the “packaging” falls away. So many people have been approached with a well rehearsed presentation which can seem more like a sales pitch than a conversation.

I pray for us to remember that it is a matter of trust. It is about trusting God and listening to Him. Where does He want us to be and who does He want us to meet? I pray for us to demonstrate a pure and patient faith.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”

- Psalm 125: 1

P

 

 

Thinking Outside The Church

DSCF3183-1The amazing success of the ice bucket challenge (to support ALS research!) continues! Politicians, athletes and celebrities  participate and post on social media. The record-setting results have led to a very good question: how did this happen?

The multiplier effect of social media has contributed to the success as individuals and groups continue to pass along the challenge. Another factor is how the idea did not originate with the charity.

How many times do we sit back and wait for someone else to do something? How many times do we sit back in the comfort of our church and wait to see what the church is going to do?

My prayer for us today is to think outside the church. There is so much we can do. It can be as simple as talking with another person and being a gentle witness.  It could also be something record-setting! We just don’t know until we take the challenge.

Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength.”

- St. Philip Neri

 

Dream Encouragement

IMG_0437I have enjoyed looking at the pics and posts on social media from my friends who have children and grand children returning to school. There seemed to be a common theme in all of these images: excitement!

How many of us are approaching our day today with such enthusiasm? In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not.

Another element of those images is the unlimited potential and dreams of the children. Imagine what they can accomplish! Imagine their dreams!

Last night, I watched part of the Dead Poet’s Society. One of the students in the poetry class had a dream of being an actor and took a leap of faith to audition for a part in a play. Following the play, he was met by his parents who took him home. It was there they told him that on the next day, he would be enrolled in a military school and then continue on to Harvard where he would study medicine. He started to reply when his father asked him if he had anything to say. Then, he realized his dream was shattered and before slouching back in the chair, he said, “nothing”.

We all have dreams and amazing potential. This morning, my prayer for us is to especially lift up our children on their walk of life and journey of faith. As we talk with them about their dreams, let us encourage them with love, acceptance and hope.

“All of our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”

- Walt Disney

Lookin’ At The Big Pitcher

DSCF3710I thought about using “The Ice Pitcher Challenge” as it relates  to the current publicity surrounding the fund-raising efforts by the ALS community.

This week, I heard conversations related to the amount of money the president of the ALS association is paid. In some ways, the agenda of the conversations seemed to throw cold water on the idea of donating, because of corporate compensation.

First, let me say, this is a very valid and important issue. Prior to making any donation we can use online research such as Charity Navigator to get an idea of the financials.

I understand how people would get the perception that executives for charitable groups are over paid. I can see how people would get that perception when looking at certain individuals in the ministry.

Do financial abuses exist within charities and churches? Of course.

We are called to be good stewards and I encourage everyone to do their homework before writing a check to a charity or a church.

My reason for writing this is twofold:  encourage us to support worthwhile causes and not to let anyone throw cold water on our good intentions!

My focus will remain on one fact. ALS does not yet have a cure.

We need to find one.

 

 

From Ping Pong To Soccer

IMG_2036This week she felt more like a soccer ball than a ping-pong ball. More medical appointments, more exams and more waiting by the phone for results.

In my next book, I will honor her with a day which demonstrates her faith. I often include this image when I write about her as it was taken in the garden of her church. After experiencing so many challenges these last few years, her faith remains strong.

I will be visiting her soon and look forward to our morning talk as we have our coffee. No matter what the topic is, at some point we will connect the conversation to faith.

My prayer for today is to connect our conversations to faith.

I would like to provide a comforting quote for her and for us today:

“The more I contemplate God, the more God looks on me. The more I pray to Him, the more He thinks of me too.”

- St. Bernadette